Do You Care For Plots In Fighting Games?
61.8% (94)
61.8% (94)
38.2% (58)
38.2% (58)
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Poll: Stories In Fighting Games

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If there's one aspect of fighting games that has always somewhat bewildered me, it's the amount of emphasis on the story for many of them.

Blazblue, for instance, appears to have a heck of a lot of backstory for each individual character, whilst Namco's Soul Caliburs and Tekkens now have a long history attached to them. I don't think either Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat cared to begin with, but with all the spin-off games, movies, comics, and other merchandise, they've gone very much the same way. And then there's Dead or Alive...

Thing is though, do many people really care for the plots?

And if so, please explain for which games, and why?

I personally don't give much of a flying fuck about stories in my fighting games, though I have no real objection to them as long as such development doesn't compromise the actual game. Beyond some flavor text and bios to know something about the characters, I don't really touch the story mode at all aside from getting to grips with the game.

Story modes are glorified arcade modes to me really, and although they can be entertaining, I wouldn't miss them if they were taken out of the game. They are overall harmless though, and more power to those who enjoy them; I'm just not there to engage in story, I'm there to fight other people and engage in awesome battles. It's why I won't moan about a fighting games story being "bad" or whatever, because there are far more important things for me to be concerned about like...oh I dunno...BALANCE.

My only real peeve with story modes in fighters is that they probably delay the release of the console ports which is kind of annoying. Though I am not 100% sure about that, but at the very least it can feel like time and resources being put on things that really don't matter all that much.

I do care about plot in this genre. I like when it is explained why characters fight, aside for the usual "big fighting tournament" reason. Their reason for entry? Their relationship with other members of the cast? I want to know it all.

Although, developers still should put more effort in gameplay and balancing with story being second in line.

Which story modes I care for? Well, Blazblue is an obvious choice, because there are only three (IMHO)"ongoing" fg's, that still care about it and those are BB, MK and Tekken.

I like a story to a fighting game, but I'm more interested in each character's background rather than some over-arching plot.
Generally when I'm choosing a character to play as in a fighting game, I end up judging it more on the character themselves more than how they play. If each character has their own little story you can find out more about them, like why they're fighting in this tournament or big brawl or whatever it is.

I'm not that fussed if a fighting game doesn't have an actual story mode though. After Mortal Kombat 9's, most other attempts at a story mode feel a bit tacked on. Or they're just really hard to follow. Lookin' at you, BlazBlue.

Sure, if it's done well. Story adds context and makes characters more interesting. Otherwise it's just some random dudes smacking each other. Skullgirls' campaign is pretty great, for instance, I enjoyed that one a lot.

I do care for them, though I'm willing to ignore story deficiencies if the game itself is fun to play.

The best ones are the fighting games that are fun and actually have some kind of coherent plot. Blazblue goes without saying, and Melty Blood probably should as well, though they focused more on the gameplay as the series progressed (the original MB was essentially just a visual novel where static choices were replaced with fighting gameplay).

I didn't... until Mortal Kombat 2011 came along and gave us a well-made, surprisingly lengthy single player campaign.
Now, a fighting game seems lesser without a good one.

It's not that I care that much, but context and background may actually influence my choice of a fighter. Tekken for instance, I really enjoy playing as Lili or Asuka, because I love their characters and their rivalry. Or MK, my favorite is Scorpion, not just because he's a badass ninja, but because he's a badass ninja with tragic story and no definite allegiance.

I love BlazBlue's and Soul Calibur's stories. Sure SCV was a bit of a wreck, but that was due to rushed development, not incompetent writers. Once SC6 comes along, as long as it isn't also rushed, it should be back to form for them.

I am in the minority, but I like stories in a fighting game, otherwise, I get bored with it astonishingly fast.

Soul Caliber 2 and 3 were great at this aspect. Weapon Master mode was fun and had its own type of story and battle conditions. Soul Caliber 3 had a story where you and created characters are fighting a war, that was excellent and the default story mode had characters traveling around the continent with text explaining stuff with branching paths, that made me want to play more. You made money from playing and got to buy more weapons for characters and armor for created characters. You could also buy many art illustrations and videos, it made me want to keep playing to get all those unlockable features. The backstory and history of the characters is interesting and fun to read, the series has an extensive lore that was fun to learn about, which characters know each other, hate each other, which ones are rivals etc.

Soul Caliber V...had a pitiful excuse for a story and it was 1 and a half hours long with lame drawn pictures for cutscenes (due to rushed development) They had story ideas, where is Amy? (rumored to be Viola) Where is Kilik? Why does Cervantes have a new body? Why are Z.W.E.I and Viola allied to each other? Never explained, I would have played to find out, but no, I had to play through very few game modes. After 2 arcade playthroughs, some quick matches and making a few characters...I was done, much less than the literal hundreds of hours put into Soul Caliber 3.

So yes, have a story (or at least something to keep me playing other than difficulty settings)

I would if they had anything not gag worthy, the closest thing was Mortal Kombat 9 and even that covered up it's flaws by just being a real B movie cheese fest.

There is ambiguity in the poll question. It could either ask whether one likes the stories in fighting games as they currently are, or whether one prefers to have stories in their fighting games at all.

My answer is "no" to the first and "yes" to the second.

The Apple BOOM:
I love BlazBlue's and Soul Calibur's stories. Sure SCV was a bit of a wreck, but that was due to rushed development, not incompetent writers. Once SC6 comes along, as long as it isn't also rushed, it should be back to form for them.

I agree with you about Soulcalibur. V had a lot of potential, and there seemed to be interesting possible story paths with Raphael, Kilik, Yoshimitsu and Astaroth, but they never really explored them at all. The older games had really good story modes too, like II's Weapon Master and III's Chronicles of the Sword. I wish they would do something like that again, a fleshed out single player mode. They added a lot of gameplay to the game besides the multiplayer (especially good for people like me who have no friends xD).

No, I don't care whether or not a fighting game has a plot, I'm playing it for the fighting.

Therefore, if the game has a bad plot, then meh. If the game has a good plot, then that's just gravy.

If it's there, it's a nice addition and can be central to the game la BlazBlue or MK9. If it isn't there, no big deal.

I've found I do prefer having a story in my fighting games. Even if it's a bit of a barebones story, it's better than none and definitely helps give a sense of fighting for something. That might sound a bit nebulous, but whenever I've played fighters with no story - like the Darkstalkers game for PSP - there's never been any real reason to keep playing after you've tried out the different characters. At least with something like Tekken, or Soul Calibur, or Guilty Gear there's a narrative reward for beating the game. It might not always be a great story, but at least it's there giving a reason to keep playing after you've tried out the fighters.

I care that they explain enough about the actual characters to give them a reason for doing what they are doing and ideally little bookend scenes at the end of arcade as a sort of little bit of a reward.

As for over-arching stories I am not to bothered MK9s was fun shame about the fighting tho Blazblues is good but a little complex for my tastes actually I much preferred the joke endings if I am honest DOA5s was nonsense but fun for what it was.

Its usually the characters that I am interested in I like them to have a personality while a good story is a bonus often I find keeping it simple is a good choice as otherwise you run the danger of actually weakening the background. Street Fighter is a great example here when it was just Shadaloo as an evil organisation with some fighting tournament to see who was the best fighter in the world it was great everyone has their own reasons for entering and that was that the story was mostly in the background but my god have you seen some of the attempts to flesh the story out? its pitiful and dilutes the original simple tale imo.

Soul Calibur did a great job imo plot is magic sword everyone ants magic sword yup sounds good to me obviously theres a bit more but not much even 2 and 3 had little story it was all on the modes and how you fought under different conditions in short gameplay devices rather than story. 5 had a story mode but the less said about that and the new characters the better, shame really as the fighting, online and character creation were great.

Yeah in short snippets are good enough to wet my appetite and give purpose to what I am doing a proper full fledged story mode is preferable but only if its not shoehorned in otherwise a barebones story that takes place largely in the background is preferable as it adds a mystique that covers the large holes it has in it.

Darkstalkers does brief story well (no the animation didnt happen) while UMVC3 dosent that was a little too brief SF4 does it badly as well I just dont know what to say about those terribad end sequences, Skullgirls was good as a short story as well it hints at a larger background but dosent dive to far into it. MK9 is my favourite story in a fighting game its just that usually I stay around for the combat despite or rather than the story while with MK9 I stayed around for the story, challenges and vault unlocks (cemetry? cant remember) in spite of the combat.

I have recently written a fighting game story drawing on my love of mythology legends and dreamworlds and... its bloody hard my draft is very long, rushed and in need of serious editing. It will also never see the light of day but maybe I will finish it one day for my own gratification. If I become a millionaire though I am funding it that will set the forums ablaze.

I can see the thread title now `wurst writng ev4`

I'm with the majority (or in this case the minority), I really don't like fighting game plots.
I like backstory for characters, I like knowing the unique rivalies between certain characters, but everything else always seems... unneeded, you know?
Granted the only fighting game I play is Mortal Kombat but from what I hear, not too many other fighting games have good stories anyway. I'm sure not ALL of them are bad though, so if you have a good example please present it to me.
Although I do have to thank MK9's story for a few things:
- It makes you play as almost every character
- It unlocks the only unlockable characters
- It's LOADED with koins (that's not a typo, "Kombat" remember?)
- Johnny Cages dialogue. I'll admit, a lot of what he said was pretty funny.
"I'm taking YOU down, I'm taking YOU down, I'm taking YOU out, I'm taking YOU out, and I'm taking YOU out... for dinner."

Yes, I really like for a fighting game to have a solid story.
Sure, I know it is not so important when you have a fighting game with very good gameplay, but I will love a fighting game more if it had a story that explain with a good reasons why so many different characters fight each other.

A good example is the Soul Calibur god I hated this game for the story.....and it is also very creepy when you see the two main protagonies together.....eeewwwww....

Skullgirls on the other hand, it is a glorious game with a very interesting story to tell.

Honestly for all the crap fighting games get. I actually like them for the most part because they actually do what a lot of people actually complain about what is lacking in video games which is a consistent narrative and storyline. Seriously think about it. Even Dead or Alive and how everyone constantly likes to slander that game series as sexist has a narrative that actually beats more video games in any other genre. There is motivation for each character that makes them stand out as individuals, there is a bigger plot than just "for the fight", and the devs actually take the time to maintain consistency in the relationships the characters form with each other. Sure the ridiculous level might be up there with the DC comics franchise but it is still consistent and has a narrative that allows for the series to continue existing and allows the characters to grow and develop.

I may not be great at fighting games but I've always respected them because of how much actual hard work in both the design of the game and the narrative. Not many games get to really say that even if they are a franchise.

I'll just leave this here.

Seriously I cannot WAIT for this game, I don't really under stand the fighting game fans who think a fighting game should just have Arcade, practise and versus we're not in the 90s anymore.

I like the backgrounds of the characters and enjoy the relations they have with each other, but I never play the singleplayer part of a fighting game. this has mostly to with the fact that maybe one character's story is canon in a game and I don't like to play with all the characters just to see a cutscene. That is not the reason I play fighting games.

I freaking ADORE the BlazBlue story arcs. I once said that all fighting games have shit stories but I guess Arcsys can actually write. The fact that they don't force random fights into every single story mode helps, one character never has to fight the entire cast in a single story arc. If even if everything devolves into a sea of plot words that just confuse me.

Oh and I love the characters. Hazama is my new favourite villian ever, Mu-12 has a fun playstyle (complete with weird and frightening keepaway) and her hatred for everything and everyone is somehow refreshing, Makoto is Makoto and so on. The soundtrack is one of the best in gaming.

Like so:

Spoiler'd the rest because I hate clogging up posts with videos

Soul Calibur V is a pretty good example of why the story matters, even if it's barebones and idiotically convoluted. Playing through the story campaign I was constantly grumbling about established characters making cameos and not getting any feel for what they were doing, as well as wondering who the heck the new people were. Chiefly, I was wondering why all the new Asian characters were traveling together and Maxi was their chaperone like it was the smallest class trip ever. Not even having character profiles sucked a lot of the life out of the game. Even if you ultimately don't care, at least knowing that there was some thought put into who a character is and why they are fighting at least offers some context.

Soul Calibur 2's plot was fun, and gave reasons for fighting. Tekken's little cutscenes for each character always amused me too, it helped that most of them were humorous.

Skullgirls' campaign is pretty great, for instance, I enjoyed that one a lot.

Same here. They did a pretty good job establishing what kind of characters the girls are. And how each of them are connected to what's going on in the story. Peacock especially.

Hopefully, the creators will be able to create the "true story" they've teased at the end of Double's story line.

I admit i fell in love with Soul Calibur 3 when i first got it. Even now i have many fond memories of that game, and agree with most people on here that it's got a solid campaign mode that REALLY needs to be brought back.

I havn't played 5, although i hear it's character creation system is amazing, but i have played four.....and it was so freaking boring compared to 3. I expected alot more, but they gutted so much of it for both the gameplay mechanics and the story. To the point I'm wandering why nobody but me's expressed discontent with it.

....Or is this one of those cases where we pretend it never happened and that Namco just made Soul Calibur 5?

Well I have never seen a good one, but that doesn't mean there cannot be a good story in a fighting game. The ones I have seen I don't care for no, but I sure as hell hope they'll get better.

Don't care about story mode either way. But I don't care about playing against the CPU at all (find it to be a pointless exercise in pure aggravation, what with the input-reading BS), and pick characters almost entirely based on how they play (with the exception of BB Hood, because dammit, she's awesome).

A good story mode can add some fun to earning some achievements/color palettes/whatever, but generally, I just skip entirely through the dialogue. I am vaguely interested in Guilty Gear and BlazBlue's stories, but that's because they're freaking nuts, and I love Skullgirls and find the character backstories interesting (like Val and Parasoul), but I don't really care much about the story itself.

I do like some backstory, but if it's just entirely missing (as seems to be the case in Virtual On: OT), screw it.

Story in fighting games has to strike a delicate balance. On the one hand, it's not a story driven experience. It's driven by mechanics and competition. So in that sense, fighting games stories need to be sort of like kung-fu movies or porn and give you just enough exposition so that you have some context for what's going on, and then the plot needs to get the Hell out of the way so you can get to the action. But if you don't have enough plot, then you just have a generic and forgettable game.

Say I have a concept for a fighting game character who's a boxer. Well, what kind of boxer? I could just have a guy in shorts with some boxing gloves, but that's kind of boring. What if he's an anachronistic classy British pugilist who can somehow still drink tea with boxing gloves on? The embodiment of the word "fisticuffs?" Or maybe he should be a thug who got kicked out of professional boxing for excessive violence? These backgrounds do more than give the characters flavor, they could actually inform the way they play, as well. The classy guy would probably be more about footwork and reading the opponent whereas the violent guy would be more about rushing in and overwhelming the opponent with powerful blows.

Plus Dudley and Balrog have some amusing dialogue if they meet each other in Street Fighter IV.

Also, knowing the real-world story behind fighting games can add to the experience, as well. There's quite a history between King of Fighters' Robert Garcia and Street Fighter's Dan Hibiki.

I prefer a story, even if it's a bare-bones one. I play better when I have more motivation than "Here's some dude. Now beat the shit out of him" and a story, even a loose one, helps.

Its not a requirement but yes I do enjoy them far more when the characters have detailed backstroy and there is some plot and context.

Certainly, but then I'm a more plot-centered player than most. Character background gives you context and inter-character dialogue develops traits for both (like how they got their respective abilities) and I wish more fighting games would spend more time on it (skippable scenes of course). Dan's cutscenes are usually a hoot. Most put most of the backstory as a wall of text in each character's ending (Killer Instinct and the earlier Mortal Kombats), or even just the instruction manual.

I love some stories in my games. They just add more to the game, games with just a few lines of text and a bio seem...lesser to me now, kind of, compared to games such as MK2011 that put effort into a true story mode, with cutscenes and what not.
Actually, MK was always actually very interesting to me. I really enjoy the ideas behind the characters and their background, I mean, a warrior made out of a thousand souls and one that has telekinesis? that's awesome!

King of Asgaard:
I didn't... until Mortal Kombat 2011 came along and gave us a well-made, surprisingly lengthy single player campaign.
Now, a fighting game seems lesser without a good one.

I too was surprised by Mortal Kombat. I got it on the Vita and expected a half-ass Single-player like most Fighters but ended up pleasently surprised. Sure it isn't the best story ever and isn't to win any awards but it was enjoyable for what it is. The voice acting was also good.

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